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9a         HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

been brought more into line with Christianity by the inclusion of
definitely Christian material. In the second place, he advocated
the making of compendiums of all kinds of knowledge subsidiary
to the main interests of the learner. " What some men have done
in regard to all words and names found in scripture, taking up and
interpreting separately such as were left in scripture without
interpretation, and what Eusebius has done in regard to the history
of the past with a view to the questions arising in scripture that
require a knowledge of history for their solution—making it un-
necessary for the Christian to spend his strength on many subjects
for the sake of a few items of knowledge—the same might be done
in regard to other matters, if any competent man were willing in
a spirit of benevolence to undertake the labour for the advantage
of his brethren. In this way he might arrange in their several
classes, and give an account of the unknown places, animals,
plants, stones, metals, and other species of things that are men-
tioned in scripture. This might also be done in relation to num-
bers, so that the theory of those numbers, and those only, which
are mentioned in Holy Scripture, might be explained and written
down/5*

The first of Augustine's suggestions had already been antici-
pated in another form by the attempt of some writers of his own
time and the immediately preceding generation to create a
Christian literature on classical models. In the first half of the
Fourth Century, Juvencus, a Spanish priest, wrote a Historia
Evangelica, giving Matthew's account of the Gospel story in
Virgilian hexameters. Somewhat later (circa 350), Sedulius wrote
a poem called Carmen Paschak on the same theme and in the same
metre. Following him came a great number of writers, the most
distinguished of whom was Prudentius, who wrote hymns and a
poem called. Psychomachia, The Battle of the Soul. As all three of
these authors had at one time or other been teachers of rhetoric,
it may be presumed that it was part of their intention in writing
to provide textbooks for use in the schools. There are some indi-
cations, at any rate, that their works were being read in some
schools in the course of the Fifth Century : Sedulius was specially
recommended for this purpose by Pope Gelasius in 496. Once
admitted to the schools, they continued to enjoy a certain popular-
ity throughout the Middle Ages. So late as the Sixteenth Century,

* II, xxxix, 59.